Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-397: Declaration of Throws for Generic Exception

Weakness ID: 397
Abstraction: Base
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

Throwing overly broad exceptions promotes complex error handling code that is more likely to contain security vulnerabilities.

Extended Description

Declaring a method to throw Exception or Throwable makes it difficult for callers to perform proper error handling and error recovery. Java's exception mechanism, for example, is set up to make it easy for callers to anticipate what can go wrong and write code to handle each specific exceptional circumstance. Declaring that a method throws a generic form of exception defeats this system.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms





+ Common Consequences

Technical Impact: Hide activities; Alter execution logic

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following method throws three types of exceptions.

(Good Code)
Example Language: Java 
public void doExchange() throws IOException, InvocationTargetException, SQLException {

While it might seem tidier to write

(Bad Code)
public void doExchange() throws Exception {

doing so hampers the caller's ability to understand and handle the exceptions that occur. Further, if a later revision of doExchange() introduces a new type of exception that should be treated differently than previous exceptions, there is no easy way to enforce this requirement.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class221Information Loss or Omission
Research Concepts1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory388Error Handling
Seven Pernicious Kingdoms (primary)700
ChildOfCategoryCategory389Error Conditions, Return Values, Status Codes
Development Concepts (primary)699
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
Research Concepts1000
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class705Incorrect Control Flow Scoping
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory851CERT Java Secure Coding Section 06 - Exceptional Behavior (ERR)
Weaknesses Addressed by the CERT Java Secure Coding Standard (primary)844
ChildOfCategoryCategory960SFP Secondary Cluster: Ambiguous Exception Type
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsOverly-Broad Throws Declaration
CERT Java Secure CodingERR07-JDo not throw RuntimeException, Exception, or Throwable
Software Fault PatternsSFP5Ambiguous Exception Type
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
7 Pernicious KingdomsExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-09-24CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
Removed C from Applicable_Platforms
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable_Platforms
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description, Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Overly-Broad Throws Declaration

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017